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Guidelines published for safe reopening in Europe

The European Commission has published new guidelines to enable the safe restart of cultural and creative activities across the EU.

The guidelines, presented yesterday (29 June) by the EC’s vice-president for ‘promoting our European way of life’, Margaritis Schinas, and the commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Mariya Gabriel, aim to “provide a coordinated approach in line with the specific national, regional and local conditions” in individual member states as the epidemiological situation increases across the European Union, says the EC.

“Culture helped people cope with the impacts of lockdowns and social distancing. It is now our turn to accompany the sectors in their path to reopening,” says Schinas (pictured). “We need coordinated and tailor-made efforts across the EU to allow the culture world to safely and gradually resume its activities and be more prepared for future crises.

“The cultural and creative sectors are strong European assets and are important for Europe’s sustainable recovery, increased resilience of European society and, more generally, our European way of life.”

“We need coordinated and tailor-made efforts across the EU to allow the culture world to safely and gradually resume its activities”

The EU guidelines, developed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in partnership with the EU Health Security Committee, recommend the following:

EU member states, says the commission, are now invited to “take full advantage” of the bloc’s Recovery and Resilience Facility to invest in their national cultural sectors as the pandemic nears its end. Through Creative Europe (€2.5bn) and Horizon Europe (€2bn) nearly €4.5 billion is being made available for “cultural, creative and inclusive projects” from 2021 to 2027.

“The aim of these guidelines is to facilitate coordination of member states’ measures at EU level”

“The cultural and creative industries and sectors have paid a heavy toll since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, the crisis highlighted their importance for our society and economy,” comments Gabriel. “With the increased vaccine uptake, gradual lifting of restrictions, including in the field of culture, is taking place. The aim of these guidelines is to facilitate coordination of member states’ measures at EU level.

“Simultaneously, a safe reopening of cultural settings should go hand in hand with a range of actions to ensure the sustainable recovery and resilience of the entire sector.”

Welcoming the guidelines, Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe) says attention to also be paid to the various successful test events in EU countries, which have proven that reopening at full capacity is possible with measures such as mass testing.

The Brussels-based federation also approves of the commissioners’ “presentation of funding lines”, underlining “that appropriate support packages are needed to revive the sector and recover from more than a year and a half of lost income,” says a Pearle* spokesperson. “The signal of the [European Commission] to put in place dedicated European funds need to be complemented with member state support, also at regional and local level,” they emphasise.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Pearle* launches 2021 map showing reopening of live

European live industry body Pearle* has published a new edition of its Map of Europe, which presents updates on the resumption of venues and live events across Europe.

Using a colour-coded system, the map illustrates differing circumstances from country to country, with some allowing performances for a smaller audience, others allowing rehearsals, and many remaining closed until further notice.

As it stands, Luxembourg will be the only country open for live music when venues open on 15 February.  Up to 100 masked attendees will be permitted at shows, provided that they are assigned a seat and observe the two-metre social distancing measure if they do not belong to the same household.

The live sectors in Iceland, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia and Sweden are either open under conditions or open with exceptions.

While, in countries such as France, Belgium and Greece, public concerts are banned but exceptions such as rehearsals and livestream events are permitted.

“Providing citizens with a perspective of when they will be able to see a live concert again is a vital sign of hope to society”

Fourteen countries are currently closed for business including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland.

No concrete, live performance-related information is available for Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Norway.

“Over the past year, the live performance sector has proven its capacity to manage the risks for rehearsals and performances,” reads a statement from Pearle*.

“It has also fully proven its expertise on how to manage audiences. In the meantime, various scientific studies provide evidence of the fact that it is absolutely possible to reopen venues and hold open-air events in safe conditions for workers and audience.

“It’s time for governments to give the sector an outlook. Live events matter to people. Providing citizens with a perspective of when they will be able to see a live concert or performance again is an important sign of hope to society.”

The resource, which was first published in May 2020, will be continuously updated as more information becomes available from Pearle* members. The map with the evolution during 2020 can be accessed here. See the 2021 edition below.

 


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EU urged to support live in recovery planning

Brussels-based industry body Pearle* has called for the live industry to be included as a “priority sector” in the European Union (EU)’s post-pandemic recovery package.

In a position paper entitled Give Live Performance a Future, Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Association League Europe), which represents more than 10,000 venues, theatres, festivals and other ‘live performance’ organisations, calls for support for “a sector on the verge of collapse […], and for which a comprehensive recovery package is needed.”

Quoting European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who said last month that “this is definitely not the time to withdraw support” for member states’ economies, Pearle* suggests the EU back “targeted support” for live entertainment businesses, as well as introducing other continent-wide initiatives such as lowering VAT on tickets and taxation on artists crossing borders.

In its introduction to the paper, Pearle* describes the situation heading into the autumn as one of “reduced income in ticket sales, fewer performances, less (or no) income from bar sales, sponsorship contracts on hold, much less touring in Europe and nearly no touring outside Europe, reduced size of productions, (very) short-term planning, less freelance work needed [and] less extra services needed.”

“There are a wide range of possibilities for governments to help the sector in its recovery”

Combined, these factors put “real pressure on the preservation of cultural diversity, which is rooted in the European Treaty,” the organisation adds.

The latest proposal by the European Parliament is €39 billion for “flagship programmes” – of which culture is one – in the next budget, though this must still be agreed with the European Council leadership. (Other flagship spending includes health, digital, security and the ‘Green Deal’.)

Anita Debaere, director of Pearle*, says the recovery plan for live should be “built on three main pillars: survive, invest and resilience.”

“There are a wide range of possibilities that governments can use to help the sector in its recovery in the coming years, so there is no excuse to ignore the needs of live performance,” she comments.

 


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Pearle* creates map for reopening of live events in Europe

Live industry body Pearle* has drawn up a map to illustrate when live music is returning to different countries in Europe.

Using a colour-coded system, the map marks in green countries such as Spain, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Norway and Sweden, where live performances are currently allowed to take place under certain restrictions such as capacity limitations.

Notes detail the current regulations in each country for both indoor and outdoor shows, as well as the dates of when measures are to be lifted and to what to extent.

Countries such as Portugal, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, where shows remain banned but a date has been given for reopening, are marked in orange.

Grey is used for those countries where no concrete, live performance-related information is available, such as the UK, Poland, Slovenia and Greece.

The map will be continuously updated as more information becomes available.

Live industry body Pearle* has drawn up a map to illustrate when live music is returning to different countries in Europe

According to Pearle*, the map highlights the fact that “there is no common approach between countries”. The association has previously called on European culture ministers to formulate a joint approach for the reopening of cultural activity.

Pearle* has also joined a number of industry associations, including those in the UK and Spain, to raise concerns over the financial viability of enforced capacity limitations.

“Whilst Pearle* members acknowledge the specific health prevention conditions and adhere to those, the live performance sector aims to open on the basis of full capacity,” reads the statement. “Without this possibility, the costs are disproportionate with the limited box office income. In this case they call upon governments to compensate such losses.”

The release of the map coincides with the beginning of the virtual Pearle* members conference, which is taking place until 29 May.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times. 

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‘A dire situation’: EU orgs call for urgent investment

In an unprecedented display of European music-biz unity, a total of 36 industry associations – including festival association Yourope, managers’ bodies IMMF and EMMA, venue associations Live DMA and Liveurope and PRO collective Gesac – have written an open letter calling for urgent emergency aid for the entire EU music industry, which they warn is in crisis due to the continent-wide shutdown.

In the letter, addressed to both national governments and the EU Commission, the 36 warn of a “dire situation”, in which “festivals suspend their activities, performances are cancelled, group activity is stopped, shops close and new releases are put on hold”, threatening the European “music ecosystem”.

The signatories – which also include recording industry bodies IFPI and Impala, the European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep), the International Music Publishers Forum (IMPF), Live Performance Europe/Pearle* and showcase festival network INES – name “artists and their management, performers, composers, songwriters, music educators, conductors, booking agents, record shops, labels, publishers, distributors, promoters, manufacturers, technicians, events managers and event staff” as being among those “whose livelihoods are on the line.”

Funding is available at a national level in many European countries, including, in some territories, specialist aid for creative-sector freelancers. However, the associations urge that a coordinated Europe-wide approach is needed to stave off “profound harm” to the industry that will continue into 2021.

“We call for emergency … structural policies at EU, national, regional and local level to consolidate the music ecosystem”

“[W]e see how important the cultural sectors are in promoting solidarity and in providing rallying points,” they continue. “Within the confines of their homes, artists and DJs have been streaming their own live performances to fight isolation by engaging online communities. Drawing upon the example of Italy, citizens from across Europe gather on their balconies to play music and regain a shared sense of common purpose.

“This reminds us that music is a vehicle to recreate a sense of community. In times of containment and pressure, music builds bridges between individuals and cultures irrespective of social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds. […] As decision-makers reflect on how to address the crisis, culture must be recognised as a priority sector.”

The intervention comes as live music industry associations across Europe lobby to be allowed to offer ticket vouchers, or credit, in lieu of cash refunds, to avert a cashflow crisis, amid widespread cancellations.

Read the 36’s letter in full, as well as the list of 36 signatories, below.

 


Music is one of the first sectors hit by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. It will also be one of the last.

As borders close, venues as well as festivals suspend their activities, performances are cancelled, group activity is stopped, shops close, and new releases are put on hold, the entire creative value chain is stalling. Artists and their management, performers, composers, songwriters, music educators, conductors, booking agents, record shops, labels, publishers, distributors, promoters, manufacturers, technicians, events managers and event staff count among the many actors of the ecosystem whose livelihoods are on the line.

These risks will persist, even after the public health emergency is solved. The stark reality is that profound harm will be felt long into 2021 due to how the music ecosystem operates.

In light of this dire situation, we call for emergency as well as sustainable public support and structural policies at EU, national, regional and local level to consolidate the music ecosystem, and help it thrive again in all its diversity.

The undersigned music organisations urge Member States and the European Commission to take a stance and significantly increase the national and EU budgets dedicated to culture, and within that to music. Secondly, under the EU Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, it is imperative that each Member State provides Europe’s creative sector with swift and comprehensive access to Structural Funds in order to offset the harm in the shorter term.

The full magnitude of the current turmoil will build for months and the number of casualties will be high. Even when the complete standstill ends, the crisis will continue due to hyper saturation of events and new releases and audiences will be unpredictable.

All this points to a slow recovery, with less job opportunities, less participation in music and less room for artistic risk-taking. Jobs and diversity are at stake.

At the same time, we see how important the cultural sectors are in promoting solidarity and in providing rallying points. Within the confines of their homes, artists and DJs have been streaming their own live performances to fight isolation by engaging online communities. Drawing upon the example of Italy, citizens from across Europe gather on their balconies to play music and regain a shared sense of common purpose.

This reminds us that music is a vehicle to recreate a sense of community. In times of containment and pressure, music builds bridges between individuals and cultures irrespective of social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds.

Music and culture are essential to offer citizens the renewed social and cultural bond that Europe will sorely need.

As decision makers reflect on how to address the crisis, culture must be recognised as a priority sector.

The undersigned organisations

AEC, Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen

CIME/ICEM, International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music

DME, Digital Music Europe

ECA-EC, European Choral Association – Europa Cantat

ECSA, European Composer and Songwriter Alliance

EFNYO, European Federation of National Youth Orchestra

EMC, European Music Council

EMCY, European Union of Music Competitions for Youth

EMEE, European Music Exporters Exchange

EMMA, European Music Managers Alliance

ETEP, European Talent Exchange Programme

Europavox

EJN, Europe Jazz Network

EVTA, European Voice Teachers Association

FIM, International Federation of Musicians

GESAC, the European Authors Societies

IAMIC, International Association of Music Centres

IAO, International Artist Organisation of Music

ICAS, International Cities of Advanced Sound

ICMP, International Confederation of Music Publishers

ICSM, International Society for Contemporary Music

IFPI, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry

IMMF, International Music Managers Forum

IMPF, Independent Music Publishers International Forum

IMPALA, Independent music compagnies associations

INES, Innovation Network of European Showcases

JMI, Jeunesses Musicales International

JUMP, European Music Market Accelerator

Keychange

Live DMA, European network for music venues and festivals

Liveurope, the platform for new European Talent

Pearle*, Live Performance Europe

SHAPE, Sound Heterogenous Art and Performance in Europe

REMA, European Early Music Network

We are Europe

Yourope, the European festival Association

 


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Industry orgs: Bring back EU culture commissioner title

A collection of music industry associations have shown their support for the Bring Back Culture campaign, following the absence of the term ‘culture’ from the title of EU commissioner, Mariya Gabriel.

On 10 September, president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the commission’s new structure, with eight vice presidents standing for updated work priorities. Culture falls under the gambit of Commissioner Gabriel, but is absent from her title of ‘Innovation and Youth’.

Von der Leyen takes over from Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission on 1 November, 2019.

Culture Action Europe (CAE), a network of cultural organisations, penned an open letter to the president of the European Commission asking for the insertion of the term ‘culture’ into the title. The letter was signed by bodies including the British Council, the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, the European Choral Association, the European Concert Hall Organisation and Opera Europa,

The signatories are concerned that culture will not “remain at the appropriate level of recognition” due to the title change.

“We call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner”

European live industry body Pearle*, the European Music Council (EMC) and venue network Live DMA are among live music-related organisations to lend their support to the CAE campaign.

“Pearle* looks forward to discussing Commissioner-designate Mariya Gabriel’s priorities on culture and the new Creative Europe programme,” reads a statement from the organisation. “However, we regret that culture is not literally mentioned in her portfolio’s title.

“This sets an unwelcome precedent since culture has been included in the European Treaty in 1991.”

The EMC and Live DMA similarly express concerns, saying “we call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture for the development of the European Union by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner.”

All three organisations had previously urged politicians to put live music at the core of EU policy, prior to the European Parliament elections in May.

The CAE online petition had received 1,885 signatures at press time.

 


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EU elections: associations urge live music focus

Various associations related to the music business and wider cultural sectors are urging members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and policy makers to put live music at the core of EU policy.

Live DMA, a network of European music venues, is the latest organisation to call on politicians to place higher value on music and culture in EU policy in the run up to the European elections.

The elections will take place from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 May. The EU budget for the period of 2021 to 2027 will be voted on by a new European Parliament, after the elections have passed.

“It is vital to advocate for culture to be at the core of European policies and to pursue a dialogue between the live music sector and the policy makers,” reads the Live DMA statement.

In the statement, Live DMA says that it commits to representing “a collective voice”, providing “knowledge and expertise to policy makers” and “cooperating with partners to build a coherent cultural sector.” The network does not disclose which partners or organisations it will work with to reach these aims.

“It is vital to pursue a dialogue between the live music sector and the policy makers”

In return, Live DMA asks for the European Union to support the live music sector, to protect the diversity of music organisations – namely smaller companies and non-profits – and to facilitate the access of venues to funding and beneficial tax regimes.

The statement also calls for the renewal of support for Creative Europe, the EU’s programme for the cultural and creative sectors.

The European Music Council (EMC), of which Live DMA is a member, has also taken measures to encourage the prioritising of music- and culture-focused policy in light of the elections.

In March, live industry body Pearle* released a publication entitled On the European Stage, in which it listed priorities for EU policymakers to tackle within the live performance industry in order to improve conditions for the live sector.

 


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Pearle* outlines EU live performance priorities

Live industry body Pearle* has released a publication listing priorities for EU policymakers to tackle between 2019 and 2024.

The document, entitled On the European Stage, calls on European politicians to support culture and help the live performance sector to thrive, defining four action areas as the priority for EU policymakers.

Pearle* urges politicians to create a stimulating environment for live events, put culture and education at the heart of the European project, end administrative burdens for touring companies and artists, and provide solutions for employment and social challenges in the live sector.

“We urgently need an environment where cultural cooperation can thrive in Europe”

“We urgently need forward-looking initiatives and an environment where cultural cooperation can thrive in Europe,” says Anita Debaere, director at Pearle*/ Live Performance Europe.

“This implies simplified rules, lighter regimes and less administration when touring and special provisions to maximise the potential of the live performance sector,” says the Pearle* director.

Pearle* has previously spoken out against plans to increase the cost of short-stay visas for the EU.

The full document is available to download here.

 


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Hauliers push back against proposed European regs

European live industry association Pearle* has urged the EC to rethink plans to force hauliers, along with their trucks, to return to their country of origin every two weeks, saying the proposals could “heavily impact live shows”.

As part of a revision of EU regulations 561/2006 and 1071/2009, the European Commission (EC) is considering making it mandatory for drivers to return home every fortnight, and requiring their vehicles to also be sent back to base – “something that would prove problematic for transport companies carrying gear on longer tours”, according to a spokesperson for the Netherlands’ Pieter Smit Group.

Responding to the proposals, Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe), which represents more than 7,000 live music and performing arts organisations across Europe, calls on European lawmakers to “to consider the specificities of our industry when amending such rules”.

“Most artists aren’t on the roads for more than a few days or a couple weeks. But the logistics of longer tours – for example in the pop music sector – are much more complex due to tight schedules and the need to carry high-value, fragile equipment, be it audio gear, musical instruments or stage decor,” reads a statement from Pearle*. “Against this backdrop, it is in the interest of both artists and their promoters to be able to rely on one trustworthy service provider who is familiar with the processes in order to minimise interface costs and to keep up with demanding schedules over the whole duration of a tour.

“Requiring drivers and vehicles to return to [their home country] in the middle of a tour would prove very disruptive”

“On long tours, service providers – including drivers – are essentially part of the crew. They have the possibility to eat, rest and live with other tour staff and artists, and can use the facilities available at the show venues, which are much higher standard than most facilities used by the general haulage industry. They also have the option to spend their free time in hotels in the vicinity of show venues.”

The new proposals, says Pearle*, “are compromising this model – not necessarily for a majority of shows for which performers are not on the roads for a very long time, but would be critical for a number of bigger, longer tours. Requiring drivers and vehicles to return to the establishment country of the transport service provider in the middle of a show would prove very disruptive.”

The association proposes an exemption for hauliers working in the live entertainment sector, to allow them to stay with tours for their entire duration, like other crew.

“We call on decision-makers to consider the specific needs of our industry, and to align the regime of logistics and transport providers who serve us with the one of our other providers, who stay with the artists for the whole duration of a tour,” it concludes. “This can be achieved through a targeted exemption – only from the ‘return home’ rule – that would specifically apply to touring companies.”

 


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Stage lighting: “Strong indications” of no European ban

Sources close to the European Commission (EC) have indicated #SaveStageLighting campaigners will be successful in their goal of securing an exemption for stage lighting from new environmental regulations.

Venues and industry associations in May warned that some of the continent’s best-loved music venues and theatres face a blackout post-2020, under European Union plans to regulate stage lighting under the same environmental rules that govern those sold for domestic and office use.

Members of the European Parliament voted 330–246 earlier this month in favour of an amendment, introduced by British MEP Ashley Fox, that would maintain the current exemption for the entertainment sector in the new ‘Ecodesign’ directive. Fox said keeping the exemption is “vital for small theatres across Europe”.

Now, according to Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe), industry stakeholders in negotiations with the EC have given the European live entertainment body “strong indications that the main arguments of the case have been accepted”, paving the way for a continued exemption for stage, studio, film and live events applications.

“The situation now is far more positive than many had feared”

“There will be a list of exempted lamp base types that will include many of the specialised tungsten and discharge lamps that are used in the sector,” reads a Pearle* statement. While the organisation expects the list of exempted lamps to be “comprehensive”, it cautions it will not include lighting also in use for other, non-entertainment purposes.

There will also be an exemption for colour-tunable light sources, although details have not yet been disclosed.

“Although much still remains to be known, the situation now is far more positive than many had feared and greatly improved since a meeting between representatives of the live performance sector and the [European] Commission took place earlier this year,” says a Pearle* spokesperson.

The full text of the final regulations will be published this November, and is expected to be written into law in September 2020.

Pearle* represents more than 7,000 live music and performing arts organisations across Europe.

 


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